When you were a kid, your parents might have given you the honor of completing a chore or two around the house. Maybe you were your mom’s sous chef for dinner prep or the human dish-collecter before machine dishwashers became a household staple.
Whatever the chore, being responsible for certain duties could make you feel confident and important (even if it didn’t always feel that way at the time).
In short, chores can instill important responsibility for kids as they grow. Whether your little one is in the throes of toddlerhood or the formative years of elementary school, there are a plethora of chores they can partake in. Bust out the chore wheel because we’ve compiled 20 good chores for kids to help teach them the importance of responsibility, work ethic, and so much more.
Why Are Chores for Kids Important?
From helping children learn time management and organizational skills to teaching them to work better as a team at a young age, chores can provide kids (and you) with a range of benefits.
Sure, you get a miniature assistant out of it, but there’s more to it than that:
- Chores help teach confidence – Children enjoy feeling valued and needed. Household chores for kids can give their pint-sized self-esteem a not-so-miniature boost. When you ask them to do a chore they deem a “big-kid” or “grown-up” task, you’ve increased their confidence ten-fold because you’re entrusting them to complete something they didn’t realize they were qualified to do.
- Chores teach responsibility – Giving kids an age-appropriate job gives them something that they alone are responsible for. Whether it’s taking the trash out or putting their toys away, they learn that their contributions are an important factor in keeping the house running smoothly. They also realize you are dependent on them, which increases their sense of responsibility.
- Chores build connections – Chores help children focus on learning communication skills and working as a team. Little ones will feel special knowing you’re trusting them with an important task. Older children might decide to talk to you about something important on their minds while you’re working on a chore together.1
- Chores help kids mature — When you give children their own responsibilities, they can become more self-reliant. Instead of asking you to fold their laundry, they can do it themselves. Eventually, they’ll realize they’re capable of doing even more independent activities. If you’re lucky, they might take on extra tasks just to show you they can!
How to Choose Chores That Fit Your Child (And Your Home)
When it comes to chores, there’s no one-size-fits-all category. As adorable as it would be to see your three-year-old walking your family’s golden retriever on their own, it’s not a safe or age-appropriate choice for them.
Likewise, if you don’t have a golden retriever (or any four-legged friends), there’s no need to rush out and buy one simply to teach your children the value of responsibility.
Instead, remember that chores are adaptable for any environment and age, and you can customize them to fit your family’s needs. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Use the resources you have – If you have a ten-year-old but no pet for them to walk, that’s OK. Instead, consider an age-appropriate chore with the resources you do have. For example, in lieu of walking the pet, they could set the table every day. They can complete this task independently and it teaches them that they’re capable of finishing an important job on their own.
- Find a chore that fits your schedule – Think about chores that agree with your availability. If you can be present to oversee your child’s chores, fantastic—but there are other options, if not. Ask another family member or caregiver to help or assign your child a chore they can successfully finish without you being present.
- Adapt your chores as needed for your child – Some children may need more help with chores than others, and that’s okay. If your child isn’t ready yet to take on independent tasks, you can break chores down into smaller steps and collaborate on completing them. Maybe folding and putting away their own laundry is more than they can take on now—but they excel at helping you ball up the socks and put them in the sock bin. Remember, there’s no pressure to do more than you or your child can handle right now.
Lean on the flexibility of chores. Your little ones, your home, and your availability are all unique. With a little creativity and patience, you can find a chore that’s perfect for them.
20 Age-Friendly Chores for Kids
While one or two may seem like a young age to begin chores, it’s completely possible if you give them age-appropriate duties. While you shouldn’t expect them to help you fold the laundry (or at least not fold it well), you can incorporate chores that pair well with their current capabilities.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 20 age-friendly chores for kids, depending on their age and skill set:
Chores for Toddlers (Ages One to Three)
When your little one becomes a toddler, suddenly the idea of doing everything mommy or daddy is doing is exactly what they want to do, too.
You can use this sudden interest to give them some of their own simple chores. This way, they can hone some of the social, motor, and language skills they’re learning while subtly learning the art of responsibility along the way.
Remember that at this age, you’ll want to explain the chore step-by-step while helping them complete it. Eventually, they’ll be able to do them more independently (while still under your supervision).
Below are a few toddler-approved chores for them to try:2
- Putting their toys away
- Filling the pet bowls with food
- Putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket
- Wiping up spills
- Placing trash in the garbage can
Chores for Preschoolers (Ages Four to Five)
Thankfully, most preschoolers still enjoy helping with grown-up tasks. They can probably complete most toddler-age chores on their own by now, too. Hurray!
With improved hand-eye coordination and motor skills (and a little help from you), they’ll soon be able to complete the following chores by themselves as well:
- Keeping the shoe area neat and organized3
- Pulling weeds and watering flowers (This also offers a healthy dose of vitamin D!)
- Bringing in light-weight groceries
- Dusting tables and windows with a cloth
- Helping to set the table
Chores for Primary-Age Kids (Ages Six to Nine)
Now the real fun begins. While they’re developmentally ready to take on more complex tasks, this is the age when some kids may begin rebelling with an “I don’t want to!” or “Ahhh, man!”.
If you find yourself in this predicament—stay strong! Explain to them how much you appreciate their help and review the importance of chores. This is also an excellent opportunity to explain the value of responsibility and establish a morning routine for kids.
If your children are new to the concept of chores, you can start with the tasks listed for toddlers and preschoolers. If their chore game is strong, consider skipping ahead to this list of chores for kindergarteners and kids up to the age of nine:
- Making their bed
- Folding and putting away their laundry
- Creating their own breakfasts and snacks
- Helping an adult make dinner
- Walking the dog and feeding the pets daily
Chores for PreTeens (Ages 10 to 12)
At this age, you can usually trust your kids to do their chores without needing consistent reminders. However, as preteens, they might need a little encouragement.
If they’re having difficulty completing them on time, consider creating a chore chart that lists each person’s chores throughout the week—including your own. This can be a gentle reminder that they’re not the only ones in the house with chores.
Here are some chores that your preteens may be capable of mastering:
- Being in charge of the dishes (loading and unloading the dishwasher)
- Washing, drying, and folding their own laundry
- Taking the trash outside
- Washing the car
- Being responsible for younger siblings (while parents are still home)
Tips before assigning appropriate chores:
While it’s important for your kids to learn about helping around the house, if you give them extra chores, make sure they feel comfortable completing them. For example, cooking a simple meal may not be the right household chore for a younger child, but rather for an older child. From dirty clothes to dirty dishes, there are plenty of chores you can ask your child to complete. Not only will completing an assigned chore help your children develop the life skill of responsibility, but they may feel a sense of satisfaction after completing the task, building confidence in their abilities.
Ease Your Children Into Chores with Slumberkins
Most parents want to impart the importance of chores to their children. Sure, you receive the added benefit of lightening your personal household load. More importantly, you’re teaching kids essential skills they can use later in life and letting them have a taste of independence while they’re at it.
If you’re introducing chores to your little one and are looking for a helping hand, look no further. Slumberkins offers a variety of products to help you and your child engage in productive conversations (about all kinds of topics!).
Slumberkins provides a wide variety of thoughtful books and fuzzy friends (such as the unicorn plush and big foot plush) that you and your little one will love. We even have an entire Confidence Crew dedicated to the importance of self-esteem and the ability to take on new challenges, whether they be chores or otherwise. Check our growth mindset collection and meet our Slumberkins Narwhal to help your child develop problem-solving skills.
Explore our collection and find the perfect tools to start meaningful discussions with your child today.
- "7 Important Reasons Kids Should Have Chores." Momentum Life. 4 October, 2021. https://www.momentumlife.co.nz/stories/why-kids-should-have-chores#
- "The Ultimate List of Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids and Teens." Child Development Institute. 13 March, 2022. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/chores/the-ultimate-list-of-age-appropriate-chores/#gs.8pr59c
- Combiths, Shifrah."44 of the Best Chores for Kids, By Age." Apartment Therapy. 20 May, 2019. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/chores-for-kids-by-age-268081